Paul Gregory-The Debonair Actor Has An Innate Skill for Acting. He’s That Good.Theater — By Buddy Sampson on June 6, 2011 at 8:58 pm
The Debonair Actor Has an Innate Skill for Acting. He’s That Good.
By Buddy Sampson
Paul Gregory is an actor’s actor. True, there are some actors and producers that can be trained to become working actors, but Paul Gregory has an innate skill, a gift that facilitates the requisite knowledge of what to do in front of a camera, audience or production. He has the ability to transform a character off the written page into one that engulfs you with its passion.
Truly, the consummate actor, who has a rich pedigree, developed from a vast amount of theater experience in England, is destined for Hollywood greatness. His roles included Algernon in the ‘Importance of Being Earnest’, Roderigo in ‘Othello’ and Tony Wendice in ‘Dial M for Murder’ among many, many theatre productions. He has worked in Shakespearian Theater and is well versed in the classics. And he’s made a name for himself by gracing film, over 53 television comedies and appeared in over 46 commercials in England. Additionally, he has been a voice for over 400 broadcasts for BBC radio.
Gregory, who was born in Bombay, India and later bought up in Tanzania, Africa, has worked with many of the world’s greatest entertainment and TV, Theater and Film icons, including screen legend Sir Lawrence Olivier. “He was my boss, my director, my acting colleague, and friend and mentor, really,” said Paul Gregory of Olivier. “He said, ‘you are going to hit it when you’re older.’ And I thought to myself, (I was a young guy at the time), am I going to have to wait that long?” His decent in the altitude of Hollywood, however, has been worth the wait. Currently, he can be spotted in the trailer for “Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children,” written by Ransom Riggs for Quirk Books, who also directed him in the trailer. 20th Century Fox reportedly has bought the option to make the critically acclaimed book into a feature.
Gregory has also worked with Robert De Niro and for the legendary group, The Beatles. “It was ‘Magical Mystery Tour,’ a production, it’s on You Tube,” he said of working with The Beatles. “On the wall behind John Lennon, there are four policemen and I’m literally the one on the left. It was really dangerous, doing this swaying motion on a 15 foot wall. They directed the film, all four of them.”
While working with The Beatles, he got a feel for their personalities. “They were all eccentric,” he explained. “Ringo was great fun, always worth a laugh. Paul McCartney was very considerate and kind. He wanted to know whether we were okay.” The actor, who, from the moment he opens his mouth and walks into a room, epitomizes elegance, class and sophistication and has played everything from mob bosses to the President. “My first role here in America was playing the U.S. President,” he laughed. ”It was at The American Institute-a film, which was this huge thrill. God that was a thrill. I thought, my God, they’ve all worked here, Cagney, Gregory Peck, all these wonderful actors.” Speaking of presidents, he is scheduled to play a president in an upcoming feature, “Dragon Day,” and an aging gangster in another feature “Ambition Of Love.” Additionally, he recently completed a short film, “The Merchant,” directed by Robert Kiraz, in which he played the part of Frank, with engaging actor Cyrus Zoghi. Gregory, who has mentored many aspiring actors and actresses, is proud of the record of his students. Over 300 of his students have been admitted to prestigious drama schools under his tutelage. He teaches workshops and seminars and has mastered several accents and character nuances, no doubt, as the result of his considerable acting prowess and knowledge. His range allows him to play complex characters, from good guys to well, less desirable characters. “I’ve played nasty people,” he admitted. “For example, I played Lord Higley, who is this monster racist, a House of Lords member. Now I know that they do exist, and I think that David Christman, the director, who is a very good young director, has explored an area that needs exploration. Because amongst these old fogeys that have been governors back in the U.K. there are some monsters.”
Gregory is one of the few actors who knew his station in life from a young age. “When I was four years of age, I was taken to see ‘Samson and Delilah,’’ he reflected. ”My father bought me out and he said, ‘choose a toy from a shop.’” After young Paul Gregory chose a toy truck as his toy and his father asked him what he wanted to be as his occupation, his dad, thinking he wanted to be a truck driver, was stunned at his response. “I want to be an actor, Daddy,” laughed Paul. “And that went right up his nose. ‘He wants to be a bloody actor,’ said my Dad.” Later, when he was 20, he decided to go out for his first acting roles. He needed an agent, but had no experience. “I was stage handing at the Haymarket Theater in London on the West End,” he reflected.
At the Haymarket, he met someone that thought he had talent and connected him with a gentleman that ran theater productions, John Roberts. He auditioned for Roberts. “The guy took me in the coffee shop and said, ‘yes you have a career, you’re going to be very good.” said Gregory. The same person suggested for him to “go get an agent.” Gregory answered skeptically, “Just like that, get an agent?” His friend suggested, because Paul had little stage credits, to “make something up; just say you worked at the Southport Repertory Company.” He went to an agent and the results were life changing. “I went to the agent, and he had a cigarette hanging out of the corner of his mouth and he was very seedy looking,” said Gregory. With his opportunity to achieve his dream now in front of him, he decided to present his fantasy theater experience. “I done a season at the Southport Repertory Company,” he said to the seedy agent, who asked, “when was that?” Paul answered meekly, “Recently.” Flustered, Gregory got characters in different Shakespearian plays confused, but the agent was undaunted, when the phone suddenly rang for a Julius Caesar part. The agent thought he was right for the role and sent him along. Gregory nailed it and got the part, receiving a seven week contract. He returned to the agent, who cautioned that he would have to do something about Gregory’s equity membership. Suddenly, guilt took over and Paul admitted that he hadn’t been involved with the Southport Repertory Company. The agent answered, “I know, the Southport Repertory Company closed two years ago. I was just admiring the way you were being so convincing with it. I thought this boy must have something.”
Paul Gregory studied with renowned acting coach Denys Blakelock, who had taught actors such as Albert Finney, Peter O’Toole and Alan Bates whilst a tutor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) for 25 years. Subsequently, Gregory found himself playing leading roles at the age of 22 at the Theatre Royal, Northampton on a year’s contract.
When Paul first arrived to America in 2010, he taught acting workshops and produced a number of projects. But he realized where his true passion was. “I realized that I could have actually done all this alongside producing, but I exclusively gave myself time to do the producing and then woke up around about August or September of last year, and said, ‘Shoot, instead of taking my protégés to these classes, I should enter into them myself,” said Paul Gregory. “And I did and the acting bug got hold of me and off I went.”
The Shakespearian trained actor, however, has an amazing future ahead of him. In the meantime, Gregory will continue to mentor young acting students while preparing himself for the next role he plans to knock out of the ballpark. Look for an incredible career for this debonair actor, whose elegance and sophistication will make him the next huge Hollywood star.
“Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children,” written by Ransom Riggs for Quirk Books is scheduled for release June 7, 2011.
For more information on Paul Gregory, visit his website at www.oldvicfilms.com.
Or visit www.imdb.me/paulgregory.com.